The Cheetahs held out against a game Southern Kings outfit to run out 29-20 winners in the Pro14 derby in Port Elizabeth on Saturday afternoon, after leading 22-13 at halftime,
The match was off to a flying start with a fourth-minute try by the Kings inside centre Ntabeni Dukisa. They were never able to breach the Cheetahs defence in the first half again and relied on the boot of flyhalf Masixole Banda to add to their tally via a conversion and two penalties.
The Cheetahs, on the other hand, were far more prolific and scored three tries through flank Paul Schoeman (18th minute), flyhalf Niel Marais (28th) and No 8 Uzair Cassiem crashed over on the stroke of halftime.
Marais was on target with two conversions and a penalty to help the Cheetahs run up a 22-13 lead at the break.
The Kings were again fast out of the blocks when second-half play resumed and after just two minutes leftwing Harlon Klaasen crossed for his side’s second try. Banda’s conversion left the Kings trailing the derby by just two points at 22-20.
It took the Cheetahs some time to overcome this setback and some 10 minutes later their captain and outside centre Francois Venter scored his side’s fourth try.
Marais’ conversion pushed the score out to 29-20 and the Cheetahs managed to protect that lead to the end although, given the loose nature of the match, the final result could have gone otherwise.
Scorers: Kings 20 (13): Tries: Ntabeni Dukisa, Harlon Klaasen. Conversions: Masixole Banda (2). Penalties: Banda (2)
Cheetahs 29 (22): Tries: Paul Schoeman, Niel Marais, Uzair Cassiem, Francois Venter. Conversions: Marais (3). Penalty: Marais – African News Agency (ANA)